When a carrier decides to fly to a new destination, there's a whole lot of science and planning that goes into launching new airline routes to ensure they are both successful and profitable. Some airline routes, on the other hand, are a just proven sure thing.
If you had to take a guess as to which are the busiest airline routes in the world, what would you say? New York to London? Los Angeles to San Francisco? The correct answer might come as a surprise. According to a report by aviation analyst OAG, the world's busiest air route is a 282-mile domestic flight in South Korea, from the sunny island of Jeju to the capital city, Seoul. Airlines, including Jeju Airlines, Korean Air, and Asiana Airlines, fly the route 64,991 times a year — that's around 178 times a day. The 443-mile trip from Melbourne to Sydney comes in second, with 54,519 flights a year, followed by Mumbai to Delhi, a 715-mile trip flown 47,462 times a year. The United States appears on the list in seventh place: Passengers fly the 337-mile Los Angeles to San Francisco route 34,897 times a year.
Internationally, the top five busiest airline routes are all between Asian cities. The busiest international route is Hong Kong to Taipei (505 miles), which is flown (mostly by EVA Airways) 29,494 times a year, followed by Kuala Lumpur to Singapore (192 miles; 29,383 times) and Jakarta to Singapore (546 miles; 26,872 times). North America takes sixth place with the 345-mile New York La Guardia to Toronto Pearson route being flown by American Airlines, Air Canada, and WestJet 17,116 times a year.
So why is everyone going to Jeju anyway, making it among the busiest airline routes on the planet? Well, Jeju Island is favored by vacationers for its beach resorts and volcanic landscapes. As well as such natural attractions as a Korea's tallest mountain, the world's longest lava tube and beautiful beaches, Jeju is also home to the over-the-top "sex-themed sculpture park," Jeju Loveland. Maybe that's why it's so popular with honeymooners.
OAG's report including data on the busiest airline routes is available for free download — or you can read the full list below:
World's Busiest Domestic Air Routes
Jeju-Seoul, South Korea: 64,991
Melbourne-Sydney, Australia: 54,519
Mumbai-Delhi, India: 47,462
Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda, Japan: 42,835
Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo Congonhas, Brazil: 39,325
Sapporo-Tokyo, Japan: 38,389
Los Angeles-San Francisco, USA: 34,897
Brisbane-Sydney, Australia: 33,765
Cape Town-Johannesburg, South Africa: 31,914
Beijing-Shanghai, China: 30,029
World's Busiest International Air Routes
Hong Kong-Taipei: 29,494
Kuala Lumpur-Singapore: 29,383
Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur: 20,890
Hong Kong-Shanghai: 20,818
New York La Guardia-Toronto: 17,116
Hong Kong-Seoul Incheon: 16,366
Beijing-Hong Kong: 14,592
Dublin-London Heathrow: 14,556
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